Third Place - Ann Carias

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Graduate Student, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology

To date, not much is known about the way the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is sexually transmitted. Carias, a graduate student in Dr. Thomas Hope's laboratory, is studying how HIV influences immune cell distribution, and how hormonal treatments affect this. She is comparing tissue samples that have a thin outermost layer of cells, known as epithelium, with tissues that have thicker epithelium. If the epithelial layer is thicker, live cells and immune cells will be further from the surface and presumably less accessible to the virus. This image depicts tissue from the lower portion of the cervix that has been exposed to HIV for 24 hours. Prior to exposure, the tissue was treated with Depo Provera, a drug known to thin the epithelial layer. Green areas depict cervical tissue, and blue areas denote live cells within the tissue. The bright pink flecks are immune cells that can be targeted by HIV.